What is Geothermal?
Geothermal heating and cooling systems, also known as GeoExchange systems, tap into the constant, moderate temperatures found a few feet below the surface of the earth, to offer the finest in home comfort conditioning. “Geothermal” means pertaining to the heat of the earth, and it’s literally right there in your backyard. The lot surrounding a suburban home or other building contains a vast reservoir of low-temperature thermal energy-typically 10 times the amount required over an entire heating season. This resource is constantly re-supplied by the sun and surrounding earth.
Highly efficient geothermal systems use a small amount of energy to capture and move a large amount of free energy. In a typical home, 70% of the total energy bill comes from heating, cooling and hot water. As a result, the greatest opportunity to reduce your energy costs is to improve the efficiency of your heating, cooling, and hot water system by utilizing this “down to earth” technology. And this energy source is free, renewable, clean and environmentally-friendly. A geothermal system captures this free energy from the earth by using a series of pipes (an earth loop) buried in the ground.
During the heating mode, a special fluid circulates through the pipe where heat energy is transferred from the ground (the heat source) to the fluid and then to the geothermal unit located in the home, providing warm comfort to the structure. Inside the home, the heat can be distributed through either a conventional duct system or a hydronic radiant heat system.
To provide air conditioning, the process reverses. Heat is removed from the home and transferred to the loop fluid. As the warm fluid travels through the pipe in the earth, it is cooled. In the cooling mode, the earth serves as a “heat sink”, a place to deposit the heat removed from the home. In addition to earth loops, geothermal systems can also use a pond, lake or well water as the heat source or heat sink to provide heating and cooling comfort for the home.
As a bonus, a geothermal unit can provide some or all of your hot water at higher efficiencies, offering additional energy savings. Using simple connections to your water heater, the geothermal unit will deliver hot water to the tank during the heating and cooling modes. In fact, the heat removed from your home during cooling is deposited into your water heater providing you with virtually free hot water.
A geothermal system can easily be installed in most homes-new or old, large or small. With many sizes, configurations and options available, the system will be designed and installed to provide the homeowner with many years of reduced energy costs, enhanced comfort, safety and reliability-all from a technology that’s “down to earth”.
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